Moan on the waters!—and, purple and bright,
Bursts on the billows the flushing of light!
O’er the glad waves, like a child of the sun,
See the tall vessel goes gallantly on;
Full to the breeze she unbosoms her sail,
And her pennant streams onward, like hope, in the gale!
The winds come around her, in murmur and song,
And the surges rejoice, as they bear her along!
See! she looks up to the golden-edged clouds,
And the sailor sings gaily, aloft in the shrouds;
Onward she glides, amid ripple and spray,
Over the waters—away, and away!
Bright as the visions of youth, ere they part,
Passing away, like a dream of the heart!
Who,—as the beautiful pageant goes by,
Music around her, and sunshine on high,—
Pauses to think, amid glitter and glow,
Oh! there be hearts that are breaking below?
Night on the waves!—and the moon is on high,
Hung, like a gem, on the brow of the sky;
Treading its depths, in the power of her might,
And turning the clouds, as they pass her, to light!
Look to the waters!—asleep on their breast,
Seems not the ship like an island of rest?
Bright and alone on the shadowy main,
Like a heart-cherished home on some desolate plain!
Who,—as she smiles in the silvery light,
Spreading her wings on the bosom of night,
Alone on the deep—as the moon in the sky—
A phantom of beauty!—could deem, with a sigh,
That so lovely a thing is the mansion of sin,
And souls that are smitten lie bursting within?
Who,—as he watches her silently gliding,—
Remembers that wave after wave is dividing
Bosoms that sorrow and guilt could not sever,
Hearts that are parted and broken for ever?
Or deems that he watches, afloat on the wave,
The death-bed of hope, or the young spirit’s grave?
’Tis thus with our life, while it passes along,
Like a vessel at sea, amid sunshine and song!
Gaily we glide, in the gaze of the world,
With streamers afloat, and with canvass unfurled;
All gladness and glory to wandering eyes,
Yet chartered by sorrow, and freighted with sighs :—
Fading and false is the aspect it wears,
As the smiles we put on—just to cover our tears;
And the withering thoughts which the world cannot know,
Like heart-broken exiles, lie burning below;
While the vessel drives on to that desolate shore
Where the dreams of our childhood are vanished and o’er!